A warning to the squeamish – this is not the game for you. Dead Space 2
, much like the original, follows engineer Isaac Clarke as he runs, shoots and dismembers his way through a swarm of grotesque undead monstrosities called necromorphs. Three years have passed since the events of the first game, and Isaac, who is now suffering from some kind of nasty space dementia, has spent most of that time locked up in a psych ward in a huge space station known as ‘The Sprawl’.
The game kicks off as Isaac is busted free from his cell just as the facility is invaded by necromorphs, and it quickly becomes clear that he’s got more problems than just space zombies – the Earth Government wants him dead, and his hallucinations aren’t doing him any favours.
The campaign in Dead Space 2
is thrilling. Isaac is no longer a mute protagonist, and his interactions with the hallucination of his dead girlfriend Nicole offer an interesting bit of insight into what’s going on inside his head between all the necromorph killing. The rest of the cast do a great job of driving the story forward, and in the cases of the unhinged fellow psych ward escapee Stross and the space-bastard station director Tiedemann, keeping you on your toes. You’ll pass through plenty of fantastically creepy environments where all manner of horrors are waiting to jump out at you and chew on your face. The audio in the game is suitably terrifying, and if you intend to play with the sound cranked high in a dark room, keeping a change of pants nearby is recommended.
There are a fair few new enemy types in the game – exploding mutant babies with upside-down heads, screaming little undead children who attack in packs, and hideously deformed priests whose faces look like the offspring of a starfish and the crypt-keeper – but none of them can compare in the awesomeness stakes to the formidable zombie-space-raptors. They’re smart, fast and hunt in packs, preying on every geek’s deepest primal fear – that one day, dinosaurs and zombies will join forces. Technically they’re just severely mutated humans, not dinosaurs, but the resemblance is uncanny enough that upon being surrounded by them you’ll be inclined to mutter “clever girl” under your breath.
Luckily you’ll gain access to a few new weapons to help deal with these abominations – the Detonator fires sticky mines with laser trip wires – perfect for protecting you from certain dinosaur wannabes – whilst the Javelin Gun shoots impaling spears which can be electrified for extra damage. On top of the first game’s weapons and your powers of kinesis and stasis, there’s a good variety of ways to eviscerate your enemies.
The multiplayer mode is essentially Left 4 Dead: Space
– a team of humans tries to achieve a goal (which differs per map), while a team of necromorphs tries to stop them. It’s fun for a little while, but it isn’t really engaging enough to keep you coming back for more. Not that it really matters – the excellent campaign has plenty of replay value. Once completed, you can play through again with all of your powered up weapons and armour, and, if you really hate yourself, there’s a hardcore difficulty mode where you only get three saves, amongst other things. If you’re a fan of survival-horror and action games, do yourself a favour and go out and get Dead Space 2
. You won’t be disappointed.